Speaking of sex and rolling on the river

IF such a thing exists, it’s a “bad champagne day”, according to Kirsty Patten, who is steering a boat through a windy patch on the Noosa River. But while the weather is cool outside the vessel, the talk inside is steamy. You see Kirsty, co-owner of Noosa’s new luxury electric boat business Malu-os, is also a member of the Australian Sex Party. And so passionate is this woman about the Party formed by her sister Fiona Patten, Kirsty ran (unsuccessfully) for a Senate seat in the recent Federal Election. And so our conversation, like the boat, zig zags between her new business and sex. It’s as simple as that.
“Our main platform is your body/your rights. It’s about marriage equality, euthanasia, abortion. We believe the church and religions should be taxed like any other organisation. We think marijuana should be legalised,” Kirsty says.
“When the Party first started, former Australian Democrat leader Don Chipp said ‘your biggest challenge is going to be getting noticed’. So Fiona called it the Australian Sex Party.
“I don’t get the whole concept that sex is bad but violence is acceptable. I think sex is a fantastic emotional thing that we should be enjoying because it makes us good.”
Kirsty, the former principal at the ten-child school at Hayman Island, established Malu-os three months ago with her business and life partner Linda Boyes, a former special education teacher at Proserpine High School. There’s three luxury electric boats – 16ft duffys – from which to choose – the Lady Anne, Lady Isabella and Lady Mary – named after an 86 year old Noosa woman. The business name, Malu-os means seahorse in the Torres Strait, where both Kirsty and Linda worked. And it’s fabulously fitting for this eco-friendly tourism business.
“We came down here on a holiday and just liked it. Noosa felt big enough for opportunities but still had a small country feel. I’ve always had this love of boats,” Kirsty says.
“We knew Noosa wanted clean and green and found these three boats in Sydney. And all of a sudden our lifestyle is so much nicer. I want people to enjoy the river at a non-frantic level.
“I think they are a great product for Noosa. They’ve got a little bit of class but they are also environmentally friendly. They have zero emissions while on the water and cost about $1 a day to charge the batteries. There’s no wash, no swell and they are quiet.”
The number of strong, smart, sexy and spiritual women in Noosa these days is building into the mother of all swells. Along Hastings Street, you’ll find the sassy Miss Moneypenny’s – a spunky restaurant and bar with an impressive cocktail menu. Miss Moneypenny’s is the only place in Queensland to source authentic coconut cream – coco lopez – used in original pina coladas. And if you are looking for a grand dame here, stroll to the original French Quarter which has a new mantra, quite literally. Six months ago the Mantra group took over this accommodation and it’s now the Mantra French Quarter. You won’t find French fuss here, rather the colour and cheer of the coast captured in its one and two bedroom apartments which are punctuated by a central pool.
Want to meet another superb Sunny Coast sheila? Wade over to Noosa Stand Up Paddle and meet Donalee Halkett who started this empowering enterprise six years ago.
“This is a great way to get out on the water and get back to nature. You are getting fresh air and sunshine and it’s very meditative,” Donalee says.
“It’s not like going to the gym and thinking you have to work up a sweat. The thing that I’ve loved about it is that everybody can do it. You see some people quite fearful and they overcome that.”
Such a great teacher is Donalee that she not only got The Global Goddess to her feet but to the point of being able to do a one-legged yoga pose on the board, while floating. (Regular readers will remember I have no physical balance and once smashed two vertebrae in my back simply from tripping over my own feet, so this was quite an achievement).
Donalee also works with a local psychologist and uses her Stand Up Paddle trips to assist others relieve anxiety and deal with issues such as eating disorders.
“With these sorts of issues there is a lot of fear involved. Being in nature is quite healing but it also builds confidence. A lot of women are quite fearful and don’t have any self-esteem,” Donalee says.
“This goes much deeper than the paddle itself. It is very spiritual.”
But unfortunately, not everyone likes the idea of women paddlers.
“I had one experience out in the surf one day and some bloke was trying to shake me off my board,” Donalee says.
“I knew the board I was on was too small for him, so I offered him a go and it was like a bucking horse, he just kept falling off.
“I thought that was pretty funny.”
Donalee, who has always worked in the health sector, is about to turn 50 (stand up paddle boarding is clearly good for you), and is currently penning a book 50 Fabulous Things for women in their 50s.
“Every day, every minute, we have a choice. We can choose the negative or the positive. Life can be a blessing or a curse,” she says.
“I’m celebrating life.”

The Global Goddess travelled as a guest of Tourism Noosa and stayed at Mantra French Quarter. http://www.visitnoosa.com.au and http://www.mantrafrenchquarter.com.au. Visit Malu-os at http://www.malu-os.com.au and Noosa Stand Up Paddle at http://www.noosastanduppaddle.com.au

Wagging my school reunion

My first ever school case, circa 1976

FEW of you would believe it, but at school, I was a Goodie Two Shoes. I received great marks (except in maths which we all know is a waste of time), was part of the popular girl group they called “the brains”,  and pretty much sailed through unscathed. Well, that was high school. And that was quite a feat given I went to one of the roughest schools in Australia. Even our school motto, translated from its Latin origin, said it all: The Promise of a Better Age. Reading between the lines I took that to mean as soon as we left that dump, life would get better. And it did.

Which is why I don’t understand why people say things like “your school years are the best of your life”. Or more so, why they feel the need to get together every quarter of a century to commemorate those tawdry times of pimples and puberty. And it seems neither do most of The Class of 1987. Out of some 200 students, 12 have signalled they will be going tonight. In fact, it’s been downgraded from a reunion to a “get together” back in the old town which is as cold as Antarctica mid winter, and as hot as hell, but nowhere near as interesting, in summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in awe of those who are going tonight, who feel they can sum up the past 25 years in a few hours. I, on the other hand, always feel a little like Alice in Wonderland when she says: “Sometimes I believe in six impossible things before breakfast.” So I know I couldn’t possibly find a way to capture the past quarter of a century. (As an aside, Mr Wilcox, if you happen to be reading this and are single, call me?)

Our school, let me reiterate, was a dump. It was more like a juvenile detention centre than an educational institution where every week, the entire 1500 inmates had to be evacuated due to bomb scares from former pupils who hated the joint as well. It wasn’t the bomb scares that worried me, it was more when they occurred. You’d be spending Friday afternoon in a double economics class wishing against all hope that Barry the Bomber would make his weekly call. And this was the day before button phones, so Barry would have had quite a sore dialling finger, hence the fact he only rang once a week. Suffice to say, should anyone ever call up with a bomb threat wherever I am in the world, I have the evacuation down to a fine art. So, I guess I did learn something at high school.

Primary school was another matter altogether. I went to one of the smallest primary schools in Australia, out in a one pub/one horse town in the Queensland countryside. To give you an example of how small, we had only two teachers, and most of the grades were combined, so at one point in time, I was in the same classroom as all of my 3 older sisters. I did, however, receive a sterling education, as there was no where to hide in a school that small.

My three older sisters and me (I’m the blonde sitting in the front)

What I also received was an education on bullying. But this was 1970s country Australia, so no one had any idea what bullying was back then. Except I knew it was wrong. There are two key figures who featured largely in my life on that score. The first was my teacher, who looked like the greyhound racing dogs he owned and perpetually sniffed like a cocaine user. For the sake of this story, let’s call him Cokehead Greyhound. Cokehead Greyhound was a mean man who picked on the smaller kids such as myself, and had a raging war with my mother over which dictionary I should be using. I was the middle man in this battle, so would arrive at school every day with a different dictionary, which old Cokehead would hold up to the rest of the class, sneer and announce: “Look what the Global Goddess has bought in today everyone”, simultaneously making the rest of the class laugh, and humiliating me. This went on for a week until I finally begged mum to buy the specific dictionary he required. I was so happy the day I turned up to school with the dictionary, as I thought the bullying would stop. He took one look at the dictionary, declared we weren’t using it any more, and found something else about me to target.

My other nemesis was a large, dark haired, freckly girl who modelled herself on the 1970s Australian Prison Drama Prisoner. For the sake of this tale, let’s call her Queen Bea. To cut many long humiliating moments short, Bea thought it would be a hoot to pull my skirt down in front of the entire class to reveal my comfy, colourful undies. I can still hear her evil cackle that day. Proving that God has a sense of humour, Bea went on to work in child care, marry a model, and now also looks like a model, or so I’m told.

As for me, I still like comfy, colourful undies, which I will be wearing tonight when I think back on those school days, glass of red wine in hand, delighted that they are behind me.

The powerful documentary Bully, about the power and destruction of bullying, will be released in Australian cinemas on August 23.